Just reading Robert Scoble and his fears of the internet becoming a closed entity by buying yahoo search and then Facebook. Not sure if I agree with his conclusions but here is how he lays it out.
Microsoft buys Yahoo search and has a big search engine, then walks down the street (they are both in Silicon Valley I am guessing) and buys Facebook. Facebook is closed to Google so Google can’t index any of the Facebook content and then the Facebook part of the internet is closed to only the Microsoft search engine Msnyahoolive! or whatever they end up calling it.
Scoble wants to start an online protest and start using friendfeed as a Facebook alternative.
OK, so there is the scenario as Robert puts it up there. I know that Robert knows way more than me about the search engine wars past and present and he knows all ofthe players at the tops of these companies so I have to think that he is not just paranoid. I am not sure though that this is the biggest problem to worry about.
First of all the search wars have been around forever and right now Google is big brother. I like Google but I don’t really believe that htey are as benvolent a ruler as we put them up to, look any company that says the they will do not evil must be hiding some bodies in it’s closet. I am not too worried about a more level playing feild between Google and Microsoft, as we have seen over the last 10 years this is a real weakness for Microsoft. All the moeny in the world has not built the best search engine algo.
Of course the bigger issue today is the idea that Microsoft would buy Facebook and keep it closed and create a closed internet. Facebook is already closed and they still do not own the internet. Ads are not converting, users are fickle in the social space, and Facebook has a two year or so track record. If people start leaving and there is no data portability then everyone will leave very very quickly with all of their friends for another platform. We are seeing this fleeing in a way from My Space. Sure My Space is still huge but they are losing to Facebook fast,
Oh and Friendfeed is a great aggregator but it is not as pretty as Facebook is at this point…maybe in 6 months though.
AOL started their own internet back in 80s as did a few companies but this was not successful, why? Even back then AOL had tons of content but if you are on AOL someone could still say, “have you seen this new site on the internet?” and of course they couldn’t so finally AOL had to open up to the internet.
I am not too scared about Microsoft. Microsoft may be evil but is usually pretty transparent as Steve Ballmer can never keep his mouth shut. Google on the other hand is the monolith from the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey clean all over but very secretive no one knows what is inside.
This week will be a big battle anyway. As users of the internet it is always interesting but to me the internet is far too big for us to worry about Microsoft buying and closing it or Google owning it either. The thing is just to big and users are always till in control, especially in this Web 2.0 era that has given users as a gang all the control.